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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Who to go to?


alexisozlem

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Hello, I was wondering who I would go to to push me into the right direction. I'm not sure what to do right now to become a good enough ballet dancer to be able to dance with a company. A mentor maybe? I feel lost and as if I'm falling behind because I don't know what to do.

 

My current situation:

 

I started ballet late-September 2015 in a small town in Turkey, and turned 16 on October 5th 2015. I took many classes, around 20-25 hours a week, including younger-students classes; I have yet to take classes with students my age (as I would expect! they're amazing!).

 

January 24th, my father passed away, and I immediately had to go to the US because of my father being a veteran and American citizen (so a bunch of paperwork). I ended up having to take around 3-4 weeks off of ballet.

 

When I did find a ballet school to go to, I went for a week, but then noticed that it wasn't a professional school; I forgot what this website calls them. Ballet one time a week with a recital. Not really ballet... So I switched, and it was an amazing school, and I took privates 1 day a week, with 10 1/2 hours a week being my total time. For the past week I've had to not go because of money issues. I will not be able to go for the next week either, and am leaving on Sunday back to Turkey. The problem is, is that the teachers, as respectable and amazing as they are, were always confused when I had asked them before. They do not want to mentor me, or they do not want to mentor in general. I stretch 1-2 times a day to keep my flexibility, and do small work outs, and hold planks, and stretch my feet with a ballet foot stretch (not for super long amounts of time, though). I also hold my legs in Grand Battement in front, side, and back, both legs, with and without something to hold onto.

 

I am just nervous and feel like I'm wasting time. What can I do?

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Parents-please remember you are not allowed to post on the Teen/Young Dancer forums. A post has been removed.

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Alexis, this is a very difficult post to answer. I will try, but need to ask you some questions first:

 

Teachers should be able to talk to you if you request their guidance, but, if they don't, have you gone to the Artistic Director of the School?

When you get back to Turkey will you be able to continue in classes which are comparable to the ones you are taking now?

Are you able to talk to your teachers there?

Have any of them told you that you have the potential to become a professional dancer?

Do you know whether you have the physical facility for classical ballet or not?

 

No one will be able to tell you definitively whether you can do it or not, but it's very important to know if you have talent and physical facility. It is not unheard of for a dancer to start training late, but it is quite unusual because ballet training just takes a very long time, even if you have all or most of the "gifts" that good get you there. The gifts of talent and physical ability also require highly professional quality, and quantity, training.

 

So, before I go any further, please answer the questions and then we will go for from there, okay? :)

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The Artistic Director of the school in Turkey usually isn't in town/class, but nowadays she is, as there are rehearsals, etc. I will definitely ask her.

I asked a teacher who gave me privates (which usually consisted of stretching, conditioning, and centre work) (also, she's American, and my other teachers here in the US were russian.) what she thinks I'm strong in, and she said that I'm definitely a turner, but I didn't ask her if I had the potential or not.

They will be hard, but no, i don't think they will be comparable, as here, we do barre without stopping, then take a 2 minute break after to stretch, and then a 1 minute break to drink water and then we do centre. In Turkey, because the classes are small ( the highest level I took had 3 students including me ), so when we did centre work, it would be extremely simple, since either one or the other student wouldn't take it seriously and just say they couldn't do it. I took a higher level class, the class right before company. Its still better than nothing, though.

I only have a single teacher that I take classes from in Turkey, but yes, I'm able to speak with her.

What do you mean by physical facility? My private-giving teacher told me I have beautiful turnout, especially in grand battements, as when I do a grand battement to the side, my foot faces forward all the way. I have a high endurance, and whichever school I went to, the teachers I met told me I have beautiful technique, especially for how long I've been doing ballet. I have also been told that I pick up corrections quickly, and have been used in a class as an example in America; the teacher gave a specific student behind me a correction, and she didn't apply it, and I did because I know that I have to take any correction I can and apply it to myself, and she said something along the lines of, "Like Alexis, any of you students should take any applications you hear, and apply them!"

 

 

My mom is also thinking about sending me to a ballet boarding school somewhere, as I also do home schooling. But, I don't know exactly how those schools work/if I would be good enough, if its possible for someone like me, etc. I know in order to become a professional ballet dancer, that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and giving up things that I normally wouldn't give up; hanging out with friends, eating unhealthy foods, etc, but I am and will continue giving these things up if its what it will take to become a dancer, but I know realistically that its 50/50; I may be making these sacrifices without the desired outcome. This is exactly why I just need a push in the right direction, as I said in the main post, I just feel lost. Thank you very much for helping me, Ms. Leigh!

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Alexis, I wish I could help you more, but without seeing you it is really very difficult. I think the idea of a ballet residency program is a very good one. Would you have to stay in Turkey, or would you be able to come to the US or another country? Do you have a way to audition for any programs during the summer?

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I don't have the money at the moment to go to any summer intensives this year. Is there any way I could show you me (bad wording...)? My mom wants to send me to Russia, and we have contacts in Italy, but I was thinking the UK. I tried googling some schools, but the ones I found were either super hard to get in(as in you had to have started when you were 8), or weren't a boarding school, but the only rule my mom gave me is that she will not move anywhere, if I can find a place for myself and figure it out, she says its fine if I do that.

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What schools require students to start at 8 years old? I've never heard of that. I know that UK Junior Associate programs start at 8 and think the youngest students at POB are 8, but I've never heard of a school that requires you to start at 8.

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I do not think any school "requires" anyone to begin ballet at age 8. I believe our poster was giving an example meaning, one needs to have quite a few years of good, strong training to enter particular professional programs.

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Yes I didn't think any school requires you to start at 8, I see now about how the poster was giving an example meaning!

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In the US, anyone may start ballet at any age.

 

The issue is to get professional training. Why pay money and spend time for less than the highest quality training available to each student? The important issue is, "available each student". If one must audition for entrance, training is not available to everyone. Entrance into a particular program may or may not be the end all, be all. Seek the best training you can. Everyone's circumstances are different. Your journey is your journey.

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What schools require students to start at 8 years old? I've never heard of that. I know that UK Junior Associate programs start at 8 and think the youngest students at POB are 8, but I've never heard of a school that requires you to start at 8.

Yes, it was simply an example that to get in, you need to have had started a bit earlier than I have to be able to get in. I found an amazing school, but its just a school, not a boarding school, in London, but I don't know what I'm going to do about accommodation.

 

I do not think any school "requires" anyone to begin ballet at age 8. I believe our poster was giving an example meaning, one needs to have quite a few years of good, strong training to enter particular professional programs.

Yes!! this

 

In the US, anyone may start ballet at any age.

 

The issue is to get professional training. Why pay money and spend time for less than the highest quality training available to each student? The important issue is, "available each student". If one must audition for entrance, training is not available to everyone. Entrance into a particular program may or may not be the end all, be all. Seek the best training you can. Everyone's circumstances are different. Your journey is your journey.

 

This is extremely hard, as a lot of the pre-professional schools require auditioning; only if they see that I have the talent and ability (which I'm not sure I have) will they let me in. I just started doing proper centre work, as in Turkey (stated in original post), we don't do centre work properly. I don't know what it is I should be aiming for, what I should be trying to do. To get better, yes, but I won't accelerate at the rate I need to be accelerating by if I stay at my current ballet school in Turkey. Unfortunately, the dance industry in Turkey is behind by about 50-100 years, and the school I go to is the closest there is. The other ones are a plane ride away. I might as well go to a new country if I'm going to be going to a different school then, as its my dream to be at a ballet boarding school.

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Alexis, have you ever watched any classes on Youtube? There are a number of Vaganova School classes there, all levels.

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Alexis, have you ever watched any classes on Youtube? There are a number of Vaganova School classes there, all levels.

 

Yes! I always watch the videos that a channel called ballet flowers post; they post the tests at the end of the year, its very inspiring to watch, although I only follow along with the plies.

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